Originally published in the May 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine
By Maria V. Luna
When Vaughn Johnson, owner of Flawnt Accessories, looks for inspiration, he finds it just a holler away. The company features bold statement pieces for the woman who is unafraid and daring. Who encourages Johnson’s striking selections? His Latina wife.
Tell us about your relationship.
We’ve been together for many, many years. If you ask her how long, when I’m in the room, she’ll look my way and say, “Boo, tell them how long,” because she doesn’t actually know how long it’s been. My relationship is built on, in my opinion, what keeps good relationships thriving, which is COMMUNICATION. We talk about everything no matter how difficult, how harsh, uneasy or funny. We’re not afraid to be us. They say opposites attract and that’s true. We’re not completely opposite but we are opposite in a lot of ways. We balance each other out and talk each other off the ledge. We don’t get tired of each other. We continue to enjoy each other and actually look forward to being together after all these years. We can be in two separate rooms in the house, but as long as we’re both in the house we’re good—just a holler away (she loves to holler).
What are some cultural differences between your family and your wife’s family?
Besides the obvious Black American and Latin American. Soul food and Latin food. Not much at all. They both believe family comes first. They both came from urban backgrounds. They both struggled coming up—no silver spoons or privileged upbringings.
What kind of lady is your wife?
She retained a lot of her Latin roots, or should I say culture, where she likes to take care of her family, believes in keeping a clean home (I say it’s O.C.D.),very giving and welcoming. There’s not a selfish bone in her body. And we can’t forget the heat. The fiery side. She will black out on you at the drop of a dime. She’s a great wife and a wonderful friend.
How did your Latina wife inspire your fashion accessory business?
She allowed me to use her as my canvas for creativity. She believes in my visions and 99% of the time she gets it. When I share with her things that I like and my thoughts on what would work with a particular accessory, she actually likes what I put together and says, “I would wear that.” I love her adventurous side with fashion. She’s not afraid to step out the box. She doesn’t conform to the norm or trends. She likes what she likes regardless of what anyone thinks, including me.
Johnson says through trial and error he’s learned so much about becoming an entrepreneur. Here, he shares 5 tips for anyone starting their own fashion accessory business.
- Start small. Use a template to create your website as opposed to a custom website just to get started. There are plenty of resources available now to create an online presence. To get your products out, you don’t have to spend alot of money.
- Don’t follow trends. You can include trendy things in your business, but don’t make that the core of your business because they come and go fast. Don’t be afraid to be different. Lead the new wave; don’t follow it with your products.
- Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your business.
- Pay attention to what’s going on around you; what’s being worn by your target customer, color, size, length, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Why did you buy this particular item? How much did you pay for it? Do you prefer to buy your accessories online or at a store?